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Brominated Vegetable Oil – Pros & Cons

Posted Jul 27 2012 8:16am

In a recent report, the Beverage Marketing Corporation concluded that the average American drinks about 44.7 gallons of soda every year. That's almost as much water you'd fill in a kid's pool.

With more and more health experts attributing sodas to the rising obesity problem in the country, it has become abundantly clear that water should be your preferred choice of beverage.

And while USDA officials do not consider it to be anything but a threat, the truth is that almost 100 countries (excluding the United States) have banned the use of brominated vegetable oil in sodas even though it will take 353 12-ounce cans to notice any chemical buildup.

Who's up for a weekend of non-stop gaming then?

Brominated Vegetable Oil – An Introduction

What makes this topic of brominated vegetable oil raise eyebrows is the fact that it is used as a toxic flame retardant. Better still, countries in Europe, Japan and India have already banned this substance from being used in soft drinks completely.

But it still remains as an ingredient in almost 10 % of the sodas that are available in the United States…

But is brominated vegetable oil harmful? Why is it still used despite the fact that there is so much debate?

The use of brominated vegetable oil as an emulsifier first began in the 40s in both the United Kingdom and the United States until the 70s where its use in these drinks were limited by the USDA, thanks to the development of alternative emulsifiers.

The reason why it has become a regular feature in citrus-flavored drinks is because it prevents the flavors used in the drink and water (which is also another ingredient) from separating into layers.

And it's cheap to produce as well… which is why companies aren't willing to find another alternative as of now. It's no different with high fructose corn syrup which is used as a sweetener in most foods.

Yet the controversy that has stirred up is due to the fact that bromine is used to prepare brominated vegetable oil, and which acts as a stabilizer. But the danger of using this compound involves the symptoms that are associated with bromism .

With the only pro being that you get to "Do the Dew" and stay hooked to videogames and sodas, suffering from the effects of bromism is probably what the fuss is all about when it comes to the use of brominated vegetable oils in these sodas.

Of course, since this debate continues to be polarized, the choice is really up to the consumer but for those who are taking it seriously, here's a list of products that contain brominated vegetable oil.

Products that Brominated Vegetable Oil

Apart from looking at the list of sodas which have brominated vegetable oil, take a look at the other products that they use it for as well. They're not making references to the phrase 'flame retardant' for nothing!

1) Non-alcoholic citrus-flavored sodas such as Gatorade, Powerade, Fresca, Fanta Orange and Mountain Dew

2) Light-sensitive photographic printing paper

3) As an additive for gasoline

4) Agricultural fumigants

5) Sedatives (until 1978)

In Closing

Fire-water instead, anyone?

Mountain Dew, Fanta Orange, Squirt, some flavors of Gatorade and Powerade

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